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We’ll keep fighting for survival of hedgehogs, say campaigners

PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:01 17 August 2018

Hedgehog lovers have vowed to keep fighting for the survival of their favourite spiky creatures as a project to become the country’s most hedgehog friendly town ends with stunning celebration.

Since 2000, Britain’s rural hedgehog population has declined by over 50%, whilst the urban population has been reduced by up to a third between 2000 and 2014.

This prompted the launch of a project in 2016, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and British Hedgehog Preservation, to make Ipswich the UK’s most hedgehog friendly town.

Ipswich hedgehog officer Ali North has since been recruiting “hedgehog champions” who encourage home owners to allow the spiky creatures access to their, and their neighbours’ gardens, creating a network that the hedgehogs can travel safely between.

• What more can I do to help Ipswich’s hedgehogs?

They are now due to celebrate their work and their favourite animal with a hedgehog lantern parade on Saturday, September 1 as funding for the project draws to a close.

“We started this project to raise awareness of the threats facing our hedgehogs,” said Ms North.

“There are some easy steps people can take to make their garden more hedgehog friendly, leaving a heap of leaves for them to explore or even a woodpile and letting your grass grow a little longer to allow them ground to search for food.”

The project encouraged “hedgehog champions” to log their findings on the SWT’s online map, allowing them to keep a record of all hedgehog sightings in the town.

The decline of Ipswich’s urban hedgehog population has slowed since the project was launched but in September funding will cease.

Despite this, Ms North said: “We still want to make Ipswich the most hedgehog friendly town and we will keep going with that aim.”

The free parade takes place at 6pm on the dayat the Holywells Park conservatory, where people can make a tin or glass lantern.

The parade will run through the park and down to the Waterfront finishing at the La Tour Cycle cafe which will remain open until around 10pm.

Ms North said: “I don’t think we will see any hedgehogs on the night but this is an opportunity for everyone involved in the project to celebrate.”

To register, visit www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/events/2018-09-01-hedgehog-lantern-parade.

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